STAR­WALKS: SPICA and ARC­TURUS

Catron Courier - - Front Page -

By Thea Mar­shall

‘From here to there to Wash­ing­ton Square…’

Spica and Arc­turus are two stars that are linked to­gether as they rise on the eastern hori­zon.

Last seen to rise af­ter sun­set March 22, Arc­turus, chief star in the con­stel­la­tion Boőtes, The Bear War­den, the bright red north­ern star of the pair rises roughly a half hour ear­lier than the bril­liant white star Spica, alpha star in the zo­di­a­cal con­stel­la­tion of the Vir­gin last seen to rise on March 30. Arc­turus is one of the cir­cum­po­lar stars whereas Spica sits on the path of the eclip­tic and is ca­pa­ble of be­ing oc­culted or hid­den by the Moon, the last event which was vis­i­ble in Pie Town at 10:39 PM Fe­bru­ary 28. How­ever, the two are linked to­gether by the same zo­di­a­cal lon­gi­tude and thus Spica can be found by draw­ing a straight line south­ward from Arc­turus which is more di­rectly over­head to the north.

Arc­turus is eas­ily lo­cated by fol­low­ing the sim­ple rule ‘Arc to Arc­turus’ by which you find the han­dle of the Big Dip­per and draw an arc­ing line with your eye to the prom­i­nent red star. As in Dan Brown’s pop­u­lar novel, The Lost Sym­bol, the ar­chi­tec­ture of Wash­ing­ton DC has been laid be­neath a grid of stars. Regulus, Spica, Arc­turus, and the Eclip­tic Plane are in the same re­la­tion­ship to one another as the Capi­tol build­ing, the Mall, the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment and the White House.

A cur­rent res­i­dent in Pie Town, Thea Mar­shall has lived in NM for 34 years, en­joys writ­ing and stars.

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